Dutch mull bringing the mountain to them
By Greg Roumeliotis
UTRECHT, The Netherlands (Reuters) - What started as a joke about creating an artificial mountain in the utterly flat Netherlands may actually be feasible.
This was not what semi-professional cyclist-cum-journalist Thijs Zonneveld had expected when he posted a column on a popular Dutch news website on August 5 in which he laughingly urged his countrymen to create their own mountain with alpine slopes, meadows and villages.
"It was not serious but the next day there was such a serious response from people who had actually been thinking about it and calculating stuff that it made me realize I was not the only one who'd had that idea," Zonneveld said.
The highest natural ground in the Netherlands is at Vaalserberg, in the southern province of Limburg, with an altitude of just 323 meters, making it little more than a hill in the low-lying country in the eyes of most people.
But Zonneveld, 30, dreams of an artificial mountain 5 km (3.107 miles) wide and between 1 and 2 km in height, which would surpass the world's tallest man-made building, the 828-meter (yard) high Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai.
The idea of artificial mountains is not new.
In 2009, a German architect proposed erecting a 1,000 meter-high mountain at the site of the old Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, but had to settle for a 60-meter hill as the challenges set in.
Zonneveld has yet to figure out exactly how the Dutch mountain would be designed and built, what materials would be used, where it would be located, and, crucially, how much it would cost. He declined to put even a rough price tag on it. Continued...